A second thing that convinces me Jesus was not an impostor is the evidence for his resurrection from the dead. Looked at objectively, on the surface, the case for Jesus’s resurrection is among the most-compellingly documented events in history. Nothing else can explain the birth of the Christian movement other than that the disciples were genuinely convinced that Jesus had risen.

The famed atheist-agnostic novelist Anne Rice was convinced there had to be a better explanation, and she set out to discover it. As an author, she had become known for her obsession with the underworld, her best-known books being Interview with the Vampire and Memnoch the Devil. What made her writing style unique was her wedding of that genre with careful attention to historical detail. She meticulously researched whatever era her stories were set in and then wove her fantastic tale through those details.8

When she was in her seventies, Rice began to research what she considered history’s greatest mystery: what actually happened during the first century that gave rise to the “myth” of Jesus. Her plan was to retell the story with her characteristic insight into the darkness and superstitious bent of human nature.

Here’s how she described her approach to her research:

Having started with the skeptical critics . . . I expected to discover that their arguments would be frighteningly strong, and that Christianity was, at heart, a kind of fraud. . . . Surely he [Jesus] was a liberal, married, had children, was a homosexual, and who knew what? But I must do my research before I wrote one word.

Her research revealed far more than she expected, however. After three years of meticulous study, she admitted,

I was unconvinced by the wild postulations of those who claimed to be children of the Enlightenment. And I had also sensed something else. Many of these scholars, scholars who apparently devoted their life to New Testament scholarship, disliked Jesus Christ.

In sum, the whole case for the nondivine Jesus who stumbled into Jerusalem and somehow got crucified by nobody and had nothing to do with the founding of Christianity and would be horrified by it if he knew about it—that whole picture which had floated in the liberal circles I frequented as an atheist for thirty years—that case was not made. Not only was it not made, I discovered in this field some of the worst and most biased scholarship I’d ever read.

Christianity achieved what it did . . . because Jesus rose from the dead. It was the fact of the resurrection that sent the apostles out into the world with the force necessary to create Christianity. Nothing else would have done it but that.

Anne Rice is but one among many who have made the same discovery. The evidence really is overwhelming. I have to agree with Rice—only a preconceived bias against the implications of the resurrection could keep one from concluding that it actually happened. What keeps most people from considering the story on its own terms is what else must be true if Jesus rose from the dead—namely, all that Jesus said about morality, his sovereign rule over the world, and his expressed purposes for history. Objection to the evidence is usually rooted in a dislike of his authority.

All this to say, Jesus did indeed give compelling reasons to believe that he was the “being” from the other side of the wall—not just an enlightened religious guru but the very presence of God come down to earth. His fulfillment of prophecy, his miracles, and his resurrection from the dead—not to mention the beauty of his life and the teaching itself—proved to me that he was telling the truth. I recognized in him the Voice of my Creator (John 10:27). Discovering him felt like walking out of a dark room into a well-lit one. When that happens, it’s not logic that proves I am no longer in darkness. I know it because of what I can see. When God opens our hearts to hear Jesus, we just know he is the Voice of God (2 Cor 3:18–4:4).

Greear, J. D., and David Jeremiah. 2018. Not God Enough: Why Your Small God Leads to Big Problems. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

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